On 10 January 2017 the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations from within the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released a staff report “Backpage.com’s knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking” (Full report -> Backpage Report 2017.01.10 FINAL) Shortly thereafter, Backpage.com abruptly shutdown it’s Adult-section ads, siting overwhelming pressure caused by the committee’s report.
The report shared, what those of us who rail against the exploitation of minors and the sex trafficking of both men and women of all ages in the United States and beyond, had concluded long ago, Backpage placed profit ahead of the well-being of those being sex trafficked.
The damnation of Backpage.com is long overdue. The report details how Backpage.com has evolved to the leading online marketplace for commercial sex. Additionally, a full 73% of all child-trafficking reports received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) from the general public involve Backpage.com. Furthermore, the committee investigators found Backpage.com “maintained a practice of altering ads before publication by deleting words, phrases, and images
indicative of criminality, including child sex trafficking.”
The three principal findings of the report:
- – Backpage.com knowingly concealed evidence of criminality by editing the “adult” ads. Backpage.com’s own estimate was approximately 70-80 percent of ads were manually (2010-2012) or automatically (2010-2014).
- – Backapage.com knowingly facilitates child sex trafficking and prostitution. Backpage.com moderators testified, their job was to “put lipstick on a pig” by sanitizing the adult-section ads.
- – Backpage.com ownership gyrations taken to obscure the US-based ownership of Backpage.com
The protection of those being exploited is in our collective hands. I have said many times, The skeptic says, “This can not be.” The hopeful says, “There aren’t many.” And the activist says, “Where are they and how can I make a difference.”